Here's Hugo: Many of you have been e-mailing and calling us to find out the whereabouts of chef Hugo Molina, whose Pasadena restaurant of the same name closed in August last year. Molina, who has also headed the kitchens at Arroyo Chop House and Parkway Grill in Pasadena, has joined forces with the catering company-party planner known as the Party Goddess. Marley Majcher, the party goddess herself, had been running into Molina at fund-raisers for years.
"We were both in the restaurant business and had parallel existences in Pasadena," she tells us. In January, when she needed a new executive chef of catering and Molina needed a new job, the two attended the same Pasadena Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting. Majcher thinks of it as serendipity. She hired Molina and his wife, Aricia Alvarado, as chefs and menu planners.
To book a party with them, call (626) 449-9932 or visit www.the partygoddess.com.
Very McCool: Gerri Gilliland has closed her Irish pub, Jake & Annie's, in order to make it even more Irish. Her stepfather in Ireland recently retired from running his pub, so she had its carved teak bar (at which she learned to pull pints of Guinness before she was 10) shipped here via the Panama Canal. She also brought over the pub's furniture, and hired Irish artists and craftsmen to install the bar and paint Celtic murals on the walls.
Now that the paint is dry, the doors have reopened (just in time for St. Patrick's Day) on the former Jake & Annie's, now renamed Finn McCool's. The menu at McCool's has been tweaked too. There's Cashel blue cheese salad ($7.95), corned beef and cabbage ($10.95), bangers and mash ($9.50), fish and chips ($9.95), and calf's liver with Irish bacon ($10.95). You'll also find "boxty dishes": Irish potato pancakes with fillings ranging from seafood ($12.95) to Guinness beef stew ($9.50). Of course, there are plenty of Irish brews on tap. Finn McCool's is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number hasn't changed from the Jake & Annie's days.
* Finn McCool's, 2700 Main St., Santa Monica; (310) 452-1734.
Fashion Trend? Some waiters around town have added a new element to their uniforms: the demi-tie. It's what might result if a necktie and an ascot mated. Because it's shorter than a traditional tie, it stays out of the customer's demiglace (or demitasse, for that matter). Local guy Steve Valentine designed it and manufactures demi-ties out of upholstery fabrics such as damasks and brocades to match a restaurant's decor. Among those sporting them are waiters at Chaya Venice, Confete and Latin Brasserie. So now you know.
Palos Verdes Vineyards Dinner: Did you know there are people growing grapes and making wine in Palos Verdes? Here's your chance to meet them. None of the ventures is commercial, but four guys are making Nebbiolo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Tom Anastaziu, Jim Labarba, Norm LaCaze and Don Thomas will bring a few bottles of their wines to Too Chez at 6:30 tonight. After the wine tasting will be appetizers and dinner matched with Santa Barbara wines (because there aren't enough of the Palos Verdes wines to drink with a meal). The price is $65.
* Too Chez, 2325 Palos Verdes Drive West, Lunada Bay, Palos Verdes; (310) 265-8677.
Doing the Oscar Thing: Watching the Academy Awards on television in public while eating dinner can be considered a sporting event in this town. Here are a couple of places where you can find the action on March 24.
Expect ballots on which you can attempt to guess the Oscar winners. Granita sits you down at 5:30 p.m. to watch the show on a big-screen television from your table. You'll be eating things like Hobbit steak and Lord of the Onion Rings, Gosford Pork, a Beautiful Rind (of cheese) and Monster's Rum Balls. The price is $74 plus beverage, tax and tip.
* Granita, Malibu Colony Plaza, 23725 W. Malibu Road, Malibu; (310) 456-0488.
The site of the first Academy Awards show in 1929, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, is the host of an Oscar-viewing party in the Blossom Room at 5 p.m. Each of the five courses is a nod to a best-picture nominee. For instance, the "Moulin Rouge" course is filet mignon with Port-truffle sauce. The $75 price tag includes two glasses of wine.
* Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; (323) 466-7000.
Reach Angela Pettera at (310) 358-7647 or firstname.lastname@example.org